Two-dimensional Nonlinear Simulations of Temperature-anisotropy Instabilities with a Proton-alpha Drift

Academic Article


  • Abstract We present two-dimensional hybrid simulations of proton-cyclotron and mirror instabilities in a proton-alpha plasma with particle-in-cell ions and a neutralizing electron fluid. The instabilities are driven by the protons with temperature perpendicular to the background magnetic field larger than the parallel temperature. The alpha particles with initially isotropic temperature have a nonzero drift speed with respect to the protons. The minor ions are known to influence the relative effect of the proton-cyclotron and mirror instabilities. In this paper, we show that the mirror mode can dominate the power spectrum at the nonlinear stage even if its linear growth rate is significantly lower than that of the proton-cyclotron mode. The proton-cyclotron instability combined with the alpha-proton drift is a possible cause of the nonzero magnetic helicity observed in the solar wind for fluctuations propagating nearly parallel to the magnetic field. Our simulations generally confirm this concept but reveal a complex helicity spectrum that is not anticipated from the linear theory of the instability.
  • Authors

  • Markovskii, SA
  • Chandran, Benjamin
  • Vasquez, Bernard J
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • April 1, 2018
  • Has Subject Area


  • instabilities
  • plasmas
  • solar wind
  • waves
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 153
  • End Page

  • 153
  • Volume

  • 856
  • Issue

  • 2